Rural Stocks Fall Harder Than Dow And S&P 500
The week the House and Senate passed the financial bailout bill was hard on all stocks. It was harder on rural companies than others.
All the major stock market indices dropped last week, and the Yonder 40, the 40 stocks picked to represent the rural economy, fell the most. The 40 fell more than 11% last week.
The Dow Industrials dropped 7.4%. The Standard & Poor 500 fell 9.4%. And the NASDAQ lost 9.4% of its value. (See chart above for the Yonder 40 since July 2007, in green; the Dow in red; and the S&P 500 in blue.)
It was a terrible week for just about everybody. Coal stocks lost heavily — Peabody was down by 26%; Cimarex was off by 15%; Walter Industries dropped by 28%.
Family Dollar Stores reported a 41% increase in net income for the last quarter, and projected next quarters earnings to be up another 4% to 6%, but the rural retailer still lost 9% of its value last week.
The biggest loser last week was Deere & Co. The heavy equipment-maker lost 29.1% of its total value. Many ag stocks fell last week as crop future prices fell — corn futures were at $4.54 a bushel, down from $8 in June — and fertilizer makers said that their prices would no longer be rising. Monsanto raised its fiscal-year earnings forecast for the second time in three weeks and the stock still fell by 21.5%. Ag commodities were once seen as a safe haven for money. No longer, it appears.
Tight credit also may have ditched the proposed purchase of UST Inc. (a smokeless tobacco company and a member of the Yonder 40) by Altria Group. The purchase has been postponed until at least January on the advice of Altria's lenders.
Here is how the entire Yonder 40 fared last week:
|Yonder 40||Ticker||Price October 3||Price Change 9/26 to 10/3||Percent Change 9/26 to 10/3|
|Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp.||BNI||83.29||-$15.05||-15.3%|
|Peabody Energy Corp.||BTU||36.12||-$12.51||-25.7%|
|ConAgra Foods Inc.||CAG||19.84||$0.11||0.6%|
|Cato Corp. Cl A||CTR||15.56||-$2.43||-13.5%|
|Deere & Co.||DE||39.24||-$16.09||-29.1%|
|Dean Foods Co.||DF||24.21||$0.61||2.6%|
|Family Dollar Stores Inc.||FDO||24.55||-$2.40||-8.9%|
|Fleetwood Enterprises Inc.||FLE||0.92||-$0.40||-30.3%|
|Gaylord Entertainment Co.||GET||25.48||-$4.97||-16.3%|
|International Speedway Corp.||ISCA||36.19||-$3.56||-9.0%|
|Mohawk Industries Inc.||MHK||58.68||-$11.22||-16.1%|
|Mine Safety Appliances Co.||MSA||35.5||-$4.18||-10.5%|
|Plum Creek Timber REIT||PCL||45.07||-$5.71||-11.2%|
|Penn Virginia Corp.||PVA||42.79||-$15.41||-26.5%|
|Regions Financial Corp.||RF||13.52||-$0.48||-3.4%|
|Sturm Ruger & Co.||RGR||6.82||-$0.18||-2.6%|
|Stage Stores Inc.||SSI||11.5||-$3.11||-21.3%|
|Tractor Supply Co.||TSCO||36.86||-$8.63||-19.0%|
|Waddell & Reed Financial Inc.||WDR||21.52||-$2.90||-11.9%|